Diversity, Equality & Inclusion | Epsom College
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Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

As the Summer Term drew to a close, Epsom College issued a series of statements outlining its commitment to confronting racism and ensuring a proper and sustained focus on diversity, equality and inclusion.

Much work has taken place over the summer and – at the start of the new academic year – the Headmaster, Mr Jay Piggot, would like to share with the College community more detail about the six key areas where Epsom College will take action.


Statement from the Headmaster

As millions of people around the world rightly raise their voices in protest against racial inequality, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the College is determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for sustained change for the better.

Prejudice and discrimination have no place in civilised society. We have worked hard in recent times to make Epsom an ever more inclusive, compassionate and supportive community for all; indeed, the 2019 ISI inspection of the College attests to this fact. In addition, the creation of a new role at Senior Leadership Team level of Assistant Head: Pupil Welfare is a further expression of how important this matter is to the College.

I, Nick Russell and the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Committee have spoken to pupils, staff, parents and Old Epsomians over recent months and we were distressed to hear of some of their experiences.

The College has a duty to listen, consider and respond. There are six key areas where we propose to take action:


Reviewing our curriculum

We began the process last year of actively auditing our curriculum to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible and all Heads of Department formally report on this in their annual report to me and the Deputy Head Academic. A whole school approach needs to be adopted. Inevitably, there is more scope to learn about the history of racism, the legacy of colonialism and the civil rights movement in some subjects than in others – and these are currently covered in aspects of our History, Geography, Religious Studies, Politics and English curriculum, amongst others. In addition, issues of racism and discrimination and of the importance of tolerance, inclusion and anti-racist practice are also addressed through our ‘total curriculum’ in Chapel, faith groups, assemblies, societies, tutor groups, PSHE and the Cultural Hour.

However, we can and will go further and faster and ensure that all Epsomians, without exception, understand the historic roots of discrimination, particularly racism, and how it continues in the world today. We shall also ensure that the voices, views and histories taught within all aspects of the curriculum are diverse and inclusive. Furthermore, we will work harder at getting everyone to understand and appreciate how thoughtless and insensitive actions and comments within our community today may have a profound and lasting impact on others.


Staff recruitment

A significant number of Epsomians are from Black, Asian and Ethnic minorities. This is not reflected in the make-up of our teaching body and it is something we are committed to addressing. The College have been reviewing our recruitment practices to make them more inclusive and to attract a more diverse talent pool. Over the summer we have been working with RSAcademics and this is an area that we are seeking jointly to address.


Developing support structures for pupils from ethnic minorities

The College will be reviewing the support structures that are in place for pupils and making a number of new opportunities available. This will include appointing a member of staff specifically to mentor and support ethnic minority pupils to work alongside the school counsellor.


Reviewing the way that the College handles allegations of racism within the school and ensuring that matters are always addressed in an open, sensitive and proportionate way

Although it is vital the school is clear that racism has no place at Epsom and this is supported by the school’s disciplinary framework, pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds, and their parents, tell us that incidents are under-reported because of concern about how things may be handled. In particular, they do not always want disciplinary sanction to be the default response for all incidents and, depending on the context, there may be a place for open discussion and awareness education.

Therefore, we will be reviewing our approach, in consultation with pupils and staff, to see how we may do this better.

It is imperative that all members of our community feel empowered to identify any unacceptable behaviour when they see it and to report it, as necessary. Not being racist is not enough – we must all be proactively anti-racist.


Extending training for staff and pupils

The College will be extending our training for all staff and for pupils in positions of responsibility, including in how to respond to racist incidents, and to consider the influence of unconscious bias. We will also be reviewing various strategies on how to foster lasting inclusivity.


Giving pupils and staff a voice and collecting reliable data

The College will be initiating an annual survey, to ask all pupils (not just pupils from ethnic minorities) and staff about their experiences. The data collected will be handled sensitively and anonymised results will be shared, so that we can shine a light on ongoing concerns, identify trends and track progress.



This needs to a moment of lasting change for the world, and a moment of lasting change for Epsom. As a school that prides itself on giving the best possible opportunities to its pupils, the College is clear that good intentions and empathy are not enough. Everyone has an individual and collective responsibility to play their part in ensuring that enduring change ensues.


Mr Jay Piggot

September 2020